Jacquie has practised employment and education law since 1990, in both New South Wales and Victoria.
She has guided clients through three major reforms to the federal industrial relations system, and is now enjoying advising them on the system created by the Fair Work Act 2009.
An experienced litigator in employment and industrial relations, Jacquie has specialist expertise in discrimination, unfair dismissal, breach of contract claims, industrial disputes, and prosecutions for breach of awards, industrial and safety laws. She is a tough negotiator, and looks for commercial and non-litigious solutions where possible.
Jacquie works in both the public and private sectors, and her expertise spans a wide range of industries including education, health and aged care, community services, financial services, IT, retail, manufacturing, transport and agribusiness.
Jacquie’s education sector clients cover the education lifecycle, including preschools, schools, universities and other post-secondary education providers. She advises these clients not only on employment-related issues but also on the broadest range of education law issues.
Jacquie has been recognised by her peers as one of the Best Lawyers in Australia (2015, 2016) in the area of Labour and Employment Law. She is a leading practitioner in discrimination law, and an industry leader in designing and presenting tailored compliance training programs for employers.
Jacquie's work is published in legal and industry publications, and she is sought after as a conference speaker. She co-authored the employment law chapter in Higher Education and the Law (Federation Press, 2015). The book has been described as an 'invaluable resource… the first comprehensive exploration of the law and higher education in Australia'.
Recent experience includes:
- Assisted a large international travel services organisation to enter the Australian market during changes to federal laws, including advising on transmission of business and award coverage issues under both the Workplace Relations Act 1996 and the Fair Work Act 2009, and preparing all necessary employment-related documents.
- Acted for a large trade employer association in the award modernisation process in 2009 and modern award review process in 2014.
- Advised a major post-secondary education provider about a restructure of its businesses across Australia, including the strategy for implementation and communication of a large number of redundancies.
- Advised and negotiated on behalf of a community service provider with 58 locations in making its enterprise agreement. The project involved reshaping the agreement to suit Fair Work Act requirements, and successfully challenging the union on jurisdictional issues.
- Acted for a national aged care provider in relation to its acquisition of an aged care facility with its own enterprise agreement. This raised industrial and administrative issues in terms of integrating affected employees. Provided strategic advice and representation in the Fair Work Commission, obtaining an order to terminate the facility's enterprise agreement.
- Regularly defends claims brought against employers. For example:
- succeeded in Fair Work Commission on application to strike out unfair dismissal claim against an international IT sector client for want of jurisdiction;
- advising a large education provider in relation to a series of performance and conduct management processes, including two involving formal external investigations. Some of these processes led to termination of employment/engagement and some to negotiated resignations and demotions;
- acting for aged care provider in relation to claims for breach of enterprise agreement dispute
provisions brought by employees;
- acting for a higher education institution in defending a series of related complaints involving allegations of race discrimination and privacy issues.
- Advising the new CEO of an early childhood education provider on regularising employment arrangements, including drafting new template employment contracts and independent contractor agreements.
- Advised American technology company about policies and compliance strategy, producing new employee handbook covering the full range of compliance issues.
- Designing safety management systems for schools, including a system for managing risks arising in the course of a major overseas tour and affecting both staff and students.
- Advising on and negotiating terms for the outsourcing of a large community institution's facilities maintenance function.
- Advising a large preschool to Year 12 independent school about privacy issues, including developing a new policy statement.